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adjective elab·o·rate \i-ˈla-b(ə-)rət\

Simple Definition of elaborate

  • : made or done with great care or with much detail : having many parts that are carefully arranged or planned

Full Definition of elaborate

  1. 1 :  planned or carried out with great care <took elaborate precautions>

  2. 2 :  marked by complexity, fullness of detail, or ornateness <elaborate prose>

elab·o·rate·ly adverb
elab·o·rate·ness noun

Examples of elaborate

  1. Jumping spiders, the largest family of spiders, have excellent eyesight and perform elaborate courtship and threat displays, often characterized by ritualized body postures and leg waving. —Simon Pollard, Natural History, March 1995

  2. Mostly, I think, because it's wicked hot today, I've been having elaborate fantasies about the perfect hot-weather lunch: two dozen freshly opened Little Necks and a couple bottles of ice-cold lager. None of that red “cocktail” sauce on 'em either, just lemon and coarse black pepper. —Vladimir Estragon, Waiting for Dessert, 1982

  3. On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A. —Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, 1850

  4. They made elaborate preparations for his visit.

  5. I see now that her behavior was all part of an elaborate plan.

  6. The dancers were wearing elaborate costumes.

  7. He told the story in elaborate detail.

Origin of elaborate

Latin elaboratus, from past participle of elaborare to work out, acquire by labor, from e- + laborare to work — more at laboratory

First Known Use: 1592



verb elab·o·rate \i-ˈla-bə-ˌrāt\

Simple Definition of elaborate

  • : to give more details about something : to discuss something more fully

  • : to bring (something, such as an idea or a plan) to a more advanced or developed state

Full Definition of elaborate


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to produce by labor

  3. 2 :  to build up (as complex organic compounds) from simple ingredients

  4. 3 :  to work out in detail :  develop <elaborate a theory>

  5. intransitive verb
  6. 1 :  to become elaborate (see 1elaborate)

  7. 2 :  to expand something in detail <would you care to elaborate on that statement>

elab·o·ra·tion play \-ˌla-bə-ˈrā-shən\ noun
elab·o·ra·tive play \-ˈla-bə-ˌrā-tiv\ adjective

Examples of elaborate

  1. … the National Weather Service … advised all citizens in New Orleans's water-filled neighborhoods “to take the necessary tools for survival.” The Weather Service elaborated: “Those going into attics should try to take an axe or hatchet with them so they can cut their way onto the roof to avoid drowning should rising flood waters continue to rise into the attic.” —Christopher Cooper & Robert Block, Diaster, 2006

  2. In each evening's sleep sustained dream scenarios, elaborated over periods lasting up to an hour, alternate with thought-like mentation in 90-minute-cycles. —Jeffrey Saver, London Review of Books, 4 Aug. 1988

  3. I'll be glad to elaborate if you want to hear more.

  4. She was asked to say more about her earlier statements, but she declined to elaborate.

Origin of elaborate

(see 1elaborate)

First Known Use: 1611

Rhymes with elaborate

abbreviate, abominate, accelerate, accentuate, accommodate, acculturate, accumulate, adjudicate, adulterate, affiliate, agglomerate, alienate, alleviate, alliterate, amalgamate, ameliorate, amyl nitrate, annihilate, annunciate, anticipate, apostolate, appreciate, appropriate, approximate, arpeggiate, articulate, asphyxiate, assassinate, asseverate, assimilate, associate, at any rate, attenuate, authenticate, barbiturate, bicarbonate, calumniate, capacitate, capitulate, catholicate, certificate, coagulate, coelenterate, collaborate, commemorate, commiserate, communicate, compassionate, concatenate, conciliate, confabulate, confederate, conglomerate, congratulate, consolidate, contaminate, cooperate, coordinate, corroborate, deactivate, debilitate, decapitate, decelerate, decerebrate, deconcentrate, deconsecrate, decorticate, decrepitate, de-escalate, defibrinate, defoliate, degenerate, deliberate, delineate, demodulate, denominate, depopulate, depreciate, deracinate, deregulate, desegregate, desiderate, detoxicate, devaluate, diaconate, dilapidate, discriminate, disintegrate, disseminate, dissimulate, dissociate, domesticate, effectuate, ejaculate, electroplate, eliminate, elucidate, emaciate, emancipate, emasculate, encapsulate, enumerate, enunciate, episcopate, equivocate, eradicate, etiolate, evacuate, evaluate, evaporate, eventuate, eviscerate, exacerbate, exaggerate, exasperate, excited state, excogitate, excoriate, exfoliate, exhilarate, exonerate, expatiate, expatriate, expectorate, expostulate, expropriate, extenuate, exterminate, extrapolate, facilitate, felicitate, fish or cut bait, garrison state, gesticulate, habilitate, habituate, hallucinate, humiliate, hydrogenate, hypothecate, illuminate, impersonate, inactivate, inaugurate, incarcerate, incinerate, incorporate, incriminate, indoctrinate, inebriate, infatuate, infuriate, ingratiate, ingurgitate, initiate, inoculate, inseminate, insinuate, instantiate, intercalate, interpolate, interrelate, interrogate, intimidate, intoxicate, invalidate, investigate, invigorate, irradiate, Italianate, Korea Strait, lanceolate, legitimate, luxuriate, mandarinate, manipulate, matriarchate, matriculate, Merthiolate, necessitate, negotiate, noncandidate, obliterate, officiate, Orange Free State, orientate, originate, oxygenate, participate, particulate, patriarchate, patriciate, perambulate, peregrinate, perpetuate, pontificate, precipitate, predestinate, predominate, prefabricate, premeditate, preponderate, prevaricate, procrastinate, prognosticate, proliferate, propitiate, proportionate, quadruplicate, quintuplicate, reciprocate, recriminate, recuperate, redecorate, reduplicate, reeducate, refrigerate, regenerate, regurgitate, reincarnate, reintegrate, reiterate, rejuvenate, remunerate, repatriate, repudiate, resuscitate, retaliate, reticulate, revaluate, reverberate, scholasticate, second estate, self-flagellate, self-immolate, self-pollinate, seventy-eight, sextuplicate, Singapore Strait, sophisticate, subordinate, substantiate, syllabicate, tergiversate, transliterate, triangulate, vanity plate, variegate, vaticinate, vituperate, vociferate

Medical Dictionary


transitive verb elab·o·rate \i-ˈlab-ə-ˌrāt\

Medical Definition of elaborate


  1. of a living organism :  to alter the chemical makeup of (as a foodstuff) to one more suited to bodily needs (as of assimilation or excretion); especially :  to build up (complex organic compounds) from simple ingredients <the toxin elaborated by the tetanus bacterium>

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